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The big name: Peter Voser

Financial Times

The big name

By William MacNamara

Published: May 30 2009 03:00 | Last updated: May 30 2009 03:00

Peter Voser

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive-designate

Peter Voser, the grey-haired veteran of Royal Dutch Shell who will soon be its chief executive, spent last week playing the young turk, writes William MacNamara .

Mr Voser, Shell’s finance director, aims to shake up a company he sees as too large and complex – fair comment, perhaps, for an energy giant whose 102,000 employees are spread from Russia to the Gulf of Mexico.

His drive to simplify and cost-cut will be achieved partly through the merger of two huge divisions at Shell – gas and power; and exploration and production. This move was greeted sceptically by some analysts. But the most pointed reaction came from Linda Cook, an executive who heads the gas and power division, who last week announced her departure.

She rivalled Mr Voser as a contender to succeed Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s outgoing chief executive who presided over an unprecedented rise in the oil price and the company’s fortunes.

The need to adapt Shell to a lower oil price environment, partly through cutting thousands of jobs, is now Mr Voser’s agenda. “Too consensus- oriented,” he called a company whose culture he also hopes to change.

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